Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Tributes to IM Giam Choo Kwee

Photo: Two Legends of Singapore Chess: IM Giam with the younger IM Tan Lian Ann

Deepest condolences to Mr Giam Choo Kwee’s family. Rest in Peace. A lost to Johor Chess too, he had done a lot for us by promoting chess in Johor for a long time.  Many Johor players will remember him. - Steven Cheong

He would come on Fridays to the Johor Chess Club meets and play games with us.. I was only 14 years old then. We would then go for dinner where he shared stories of his chess journey.  An affable person. - NM Mohd. Kamal Abdullah

Just chatting with him last week about organising chess events in Singapore. He volunteered to find venue and sponsors. - Philip Chan

Sorry to hear about that... one of the legends to inspire us when we were young players. - IM Terry Toh

A good friend has departed. May he rest in peace !! - Watson Tay

I remember all twelve clocks ticking in the sports house when he ran equal time clock simultaneous for the national junior training squad in the late 70s and impatiently waiting for any of us to move. Fondly remember the tournaments he organized in the 80s at the swimming club. His passion for over the board chess was unparalleled. A true mentor. - GM Wong Meng Kong

Sincere Condolences to his family.  RIP Mr Giam. Friendly and helpful guy who loves chess. - Andrew Chan

I am very saddened to hear the demise of our good friend Giam. He will be missed my me and my brothers as we were close to him in the late 70's early 80's. - Ramesh Jhunjhnuwala

Sad to hear the news. He will be missed. - IM Tan Lian Ann

One of the pioneers of Queenstown CC Chess Club. RIP - Lim Chye Lye

He was already an icon when I started chess. Remember he organized River Valley CC and Chinese swimming club chess as well as help set up Dr ST LEE Cup in China. Taught me some chess too. RIP. - Ang Hao Yao

We are deeply saddened by the loss of IM Giam. He is not just a Master in Chess but a fatherly figure to us. Constantly encouraging my students whenever he join or visit our Asean Chess Academy (ACA). Plus he was full of humour. The children enjoyed talking to him. He played 9 straight games at last year’s Merdeka Team Championship for ACA... beating some very strong players , even though he was the oldest in the competition. He showed resilience which I admired a lot. It inspires our young generations of chess players.May your soul Rest In Peace .... - GM Nelson Mariano

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Not Empty Handed in Standard Chess!

Congratulations to Agnes Chong Kai Ni for winning Gold in the Girls U-12 category at the East Asian Youth Championships.

Unfortunately top seeded Anderson Ang Ern Jie in Open U-8 category, despite being unbeaten, had to settle for Silver.

Well done to Cheah Kah Hoe for a nice finish by beating Singapore's top seed Cyrus Nisban in the Open U-14 category to finish fourth.

The New ICE Future Stars Program

  • Weekly Group Lessons on Methods, Playing Typical Middlegames & Endgame Technique
  • Plus Weekly Individual Face-To-Face & Online Game Analysis together with Guidance on Opening Preparation
  • A Monthly Flat Affordable Fee! 

Malaysian Teams for Batumi Olympiad

Ranked 82nd but the team we enter will be seeded 105th. No pressure!

Ranked 61st and the team we enter will be seeded 65th. Close enough!

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Day Six in Korea

What remained of Rosamund's chance is over. Now young Indonesian has a must win final encounter against the Filipina leader.

No Luck in Rapid

What can one say? Rapid is not Blitz?

Monday, 6 August 2018

ACP Supports Dvorkovich

Day Five in Korea

The Filipina is now in the driving seat after Rosamund took down Irene's talented 14 year old sister

Blitz Success for Malaysians

Gold for Cheah Kah Hoe and Silver for Ferris Lim Feng Wei and Ang Jing Xuan!

Our usual consolation medals that we will certainly hype up as a huge success since we almost always are unable to replicate this in the main standard chess event where titles and ratings matter.

But congratulations and well done! Winning is never easy.

The field may be weak but that is not the fault of the players and give credit where it is due if indeed one decided to take full advantage. 

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Day Four in Korea and Shanghai

Rosamund has recovered with back to back wins and if she can keep this up it will come down to her results against the two players above her she has yet to meet.

Very nice to see that we so many young players in medal contention just after the halfway mark!

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Friday, 3 August 2018

Day Two in Korea and Shanghai

Rosamund is on 1/2, recovering after a first round upset. Looks like her main challengers  for the title will be the players from Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia. 

Early days yet and not a lot to add except this is a clearly a weak tournament from all reports and so there is every chance for our young Malaysians to shine.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

How Often is a Malaysian the Top Seed?

Well, Anderson Ang is the top seed at the 3rd East Asian Youth Championships being held in Shanghai, China.

Rosamund Koo is in Korea, Playing for the WIM Title

Poor Turnout at East Asian Juniors & Youth

The East Asian Youth Championships in Shanghai, China from 1-10 August and East Asian Junior Championships in Jeongson, South Korea from 1-9 August are being held concurrently.

I wrote about what I felt was a possible saturation thanks to too many of the same targeting much the same audience in an earlier post: "Too Many International Youth Championships" and from the participation numbers which has never really been high even in the past, it seems I am right!

Shanghai with categories from U-8 to U-18 seems to be having only 215 participants while Jeongson with just the category for U-20 has 22 participants.

One problem with insufficient players in a particular category means that it no longer qualifies for direct titles and norms are impossible but in some cases it is not even possible to have a meaningful competition. As a result, the organisers will then combine sections and while this is allowed, I have always had a problem understanding situations where a player can get a championship when playing many who not in his or her age-group.

While much too many in Shanghai are from China, Malaysia is still well represented, mostly by the usual suspects.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Malaysians in the August FIDE Rating List and going to the World Chess Olympiad

According to the most recent (August 2018) FIDE Rating List, Malaysia is ranked 82nd in the world, pretty much where we normally are even if it is again our No. 1 Yeoh Li Tian's rating that has dragged us up a few places.

The biggest change really is Lye Lik Zang moving past 2300 and in fact is at 2345.

Lik Zang at No. 3 will be the highest rated player in the Malaysian team for the coming World Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia and he is joined by No. 9 Zaidan Zulkipli 2203, No. 12 Lim Zhou Ren,
 2166, current National Champion and No. 20 Fong Yit San 2108, and No. 102 Mukhriez Shah Mahmood Shah.

National Teams in Kota Kinabalu

The National State Championships is being held in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah from 1-3 August 2018, and although there are ten teams taking part, just six states are represented.

Host Sabah has four teams and defending champions Penang has two.

Missing are Perlis, Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Sarawak, Negeri Sembilan, KL, Putrajaya and Perak, a total of nine state affiliates of the Malaysian Chess Federation.

Looks like either bad choice of dates or just too many state affiliates having problems.

(The women's championships has four teams, Penang, KL, Johor and Sabah, so actually it can be said that seven states are present).

Monday, 30 July 2018

Too Many International Youth Championships?

Chess is today a business, largely thanks to the kids and their parents.

Here of course we are not talking about the special talent but the large numbers of kids the game attracts - and for all sorts of reasons - including that of their parents.

For example, here in Malaysia, there are the schools championships organised by the Ministry of Education and there is the national youth championships (national age-groups and national juniors) organised by the Malaysian Chess Federation.

These already require quite some commitment by the participants and especially so if they are leading players which means they also will play the Malaysian Chess Festival and at least one of its many events, and probably one of the Selangor, Penang and Johor Opens to name but just the more established, and almost certainly some of the many rapids held every weekend.

Now there are also many FIDE Rating tournaments to choose from.

But what was I saying about international youth events? Let's then start by listing them and realise too that all kids in Malaysia can play provided they can pay to go and the Malaysian Chess Federation will submit their entry.

1. World Junior Championships
2. World Youth Championships
3. World Schools Championships
4. Asian Junior Championships
5. Asian Youth Championships
6. Asian Schools Championships
7. ASEAN Age-Group Championships
8. Commonwealth Championships
9. World Youth U-16 Olympiad
10. East Asian Junior Championships
11. East Asian Youth Championships
12. Asian Nations Cup U-14 Teams

Now, that is a tournament a month although to be fair, the World Youth U-16 Olympiad and the Asian Nations Cup U-14 are team events with just one age-group category.

The selling point is probably the often soft direct titles and title norms available and the medals in rapid and blitz, and of course even if the kid has no real chance to win, can still be considered to be a national player as the hundreds if not thousands have already added to their resumes and in some cases even cashed in for grants and scholarships.

A proven business model with everyone getting what they want but now I think it has reached the point where it has simply become too much for most. 

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

More On The Right To Vote!

Interestingly this can also be food for thought as regards the membership of the Malaysian Chess Federation (MCF), their rights and obligations as state affiliates

Checks and balances! 

And then of course then what the role of the legitimate state affiliates can be in ensuring how MCF is constituted and run.  

FIDE's Position On The Right To Vote

This is shaping up to an election that is being played out in a rather nasty fashion on social media with the current leadership and its supporters responding to allegations by their challengers in a way that does no credit to them, FIDE or chess.

FIDE has at least made its position clear although it might be challenged. I do however think that all three sides (or at least two) benefit from this ruling should it remain as it is stated currently.

I might be reading this wrong but it does seem that in fact there can be exclusions!

Two well known and prominent FIDE officials are delegates of two of these National Chess Federations, both who do not seem to have any rated players and which do not seem to have  any participation in international competition.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Asian Nations Cup - 13 Teams in Open and Eight Teams in Womens

Once again, no Malaysian team. In a different MCF the Olympiad team could have gone as a training or a team of young players could have been sent for exposure or it could even have been a chance for  others who had not have a chance to take part.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

How Good is Samantha Edithso?

The 10 year old Indonesian chess prodigy Samantha Edithso is well known to Malaysians, having had the performance of her life at the Selangor Open Challengers in 2017.

I met Samantha for the first time (although I had seen her playing on several occasions over the years when visiting Indonesia) at the Asian Youth Chess Championships held in Chiang Mai, Thailand from 1-10 April 2018, where she won two Golds.

These were in Rapid and Blitz in her age-group. In Standard chess, Samantha moved up one category and interestingly was never in contention.

While at this event I had the opportunity to get up close and personal with this young talent thanks to my long friendship with Indonesian Head of Delegation Kristianus Liem who brought just three players but who were all serious medal contenders.

This deepened with the arrival of Indonesian chess patron Eka Wirya Putra who brought with him a journalist, and at their urging, I started having direct chess contact with Samantha.

What one immediately notices about this young girl is her absolute self-belief and the way she projects this confidence... and how articulate Samantha is in both her native Indonesian language as well as in English.

I do not for a moment mean arrogance but clearly Samantha is used to being the centre of attention and she handles it very easily and quite maturely.

Recently Kristianus Liem brought Samantha together with WIM Chelsie Monica Shite as her second to the World Cadets Rapid & Blitz Championships in Belarus and with everything going her way, it was mission accomplished, winning Gold and the title of World U-10 Girls Rapid Chess Champion.

How good then is Samantha? Obviously very talented and motivated and she has the backing of PERCASI (All Indonesian Chess Federation) and various sponsors. 

But we have seen so many young talents burn out or somehow, for some reason or another, never reach their early potential and while she should get all the support needed, the proofs are when 1) her Standard chess results become as good as her Rapid chess results, 2) she is ranked among the top with her peers, and 3) in four or five years time, she is able to successfully compete with the best junior girls in the world. 

Saturday, 30 June 2018